From NewsandSentinel.com

PARKERSBURG – People who normally hire lawn-maintenance services don’t seem to be taking on the work themselves to save money in a lagging economy.

The business owners who provide the services appreciate the gesture in light of the hit they took last year due to high fuel costs. Jeff Davis, owner of Parkersburg Lawn and Landscape, said he’s been busy since warm weather began making weekly lawn maintenance necessary.

“I’ve been extremely busy, actually. I’ve had a couple churches go to volunteer labor. Other than that, I haven’t seen a loss in my work,” Davis said.

Davis said his advertisement in the telephone book, along with word of mouth, has been generating new calls.

One thing is certain, last year’s high gas prices were much more of a problem than the current lagging economy, Davis said.

“It’s better this year than last year because of the fuel prices so far,” Davis said.

Mike Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Landscape, said some of his customers may be mowing their own lawns now, but more people seem to be coming to his shop for landscape projects.

“As far as the mowing, the lawn service, I think there are some people who are mowing their won. But a lot of people are staying at home and spending more money on their landscaping because maybe they’re not traveling or doing whatever they normally do. The landscaping has been busier than normal,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds assumed people wouldn’t spend a lot of money on landscaping projects this year due to the economic downturn.

That doesn’t seem to be the case, which is good news for the economy, he said.

“When we went into the season, I kind of thought people wouldn’t be spending money on bigger projects like brick patios and outdoor living spaces. That’s not the case at all. We’ve been very busy with brick work. We do a lot of outdoor kitchens. More people are spending money on that than we thought we were going to. I think it has to do with people spending more time at home, not traveling as much and wanting to invest in their property,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds agreed this year’s market is much better than last year’s high gas prices.

“It’s been a lot better. Last year, we doubled what we spent on gas. We spent $30,000 in fuel last year, where we would normally only spend $18,000 to $20,000. This year, it should be closer to where it was. That was a huge factor for us last year.”

Dennis Hatfield, manager of Greenscape, said the company has picked up a lot of new lawn maintenance accounts this season.

“We’ve picked up a lot of new accounts already. It hasn’t affected our maintenance contracts,” he said.

Hatfield said there are always people who don’t have the time to do their own yard work or just don’t enjoy it.

“You’re always going to have people who don’t have the time or desire to go out and mow their grass, mulch the beds and trim the shrubs,” Hatfield. “We’re getting calls every couple of days for new lawn estimates and maintenance estimates for people.”

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